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Cititzen eco-drive watch

Was “Timex Watch Dimensions”

Hi Ed. Thanks for your thoughts on the Citizen Eco-Drive watch and
their suitability for mounting on a custom silver cuff. But you
raise several issues that I wonder if you’re correct on.

First of all, Citizen says on it’s website that the storage device
is not a capacitor, but is often incorrectly referred to as one.
They are also quoting a figure of 40 years as the potential of the
circuits. I’m not sure exactly what that refers to, however.

A few years ago I had a long talk with someone from the company.
They said that jewelers in the field are not equipped or authorized
to fix Eco-Drives, and that watches had to be returned to Citizen
for servicing. I don’t know if this is typical corporate
ass-covering, but you apparently have the parts and knowhow to work
on these mechanisms. So I’m a little confused. It did give me pause,
since I wanted to sell it and forget it, if you will. I figured
(hoped?) that the units would likely never need servicing. And if
they did, I would assume the purchaser would take it to a local
jeweler (or me) to take the watch off the custom band before sending
in the watch.

The fact that the case would not need to opened for battery changes
leads me to think that the structural waterproof integrity would be
very high, and might not need the periodic gasket replacement
typical of a regular quartz watch. And again, Citizen doesn’t want
their units opened in the field. Also, the watch/cuff combos I make
are clearly not sport watches and might get a little better care
than average.

If the problems you are observing are the result of erratic,
incomplete charging cycles, perhaps customers could be given more
instruction as to how to maintain a proper charge. The freedom and
confidence that your watch won’t need battery changes and should
should keep reliable time for many years with little thought from
the wearer is worth it, if the price is leaving the watch in the sun
every once in awhile. I really want to get the correct info on this,
since I’m really pushing these watches. I know that many of you
derive some income from battery changes, but if the Eco-Drive is a
truly superior technology, that fact should be recognized. I’d
appreciate any real-world insight you have on this. Thanks Orchid!


The fact that the case would not need to opened for battery changes
leads me to think that the structural waterproof integrity would be
very high, and might not need the periodic gasket replacement
typical of a regular quartz watch. And again, Citizen doesn't want
their units opened in the field. 

The biggest cause of failure in watch waterproofing is not the seal
on the case back but that on the ‘winder’. Unless the watch case has
a screw-down crown, the waterproofing is likely to be compromised
quite quickly - even with a screw-down crown it can fail within a
short time depending on how the watch is used. The problem is that
greasy skin particles aggregate around the winder and these then trap
fine dust and grit from the atmosphere. When the winder is pulled out
to adjust the time as is necessary at least twice a year with every
analogue watch, this grit can get drawn into the ‘winding’ mechanism
and cut or abrade the seal or pipe or maybe just hold the seal away
from the pipe.

Similarly, particles of grit can prevent a screw-down crown from
seating properly. In complicated watches this problem is often
aggravated by the case having a number of ‘pushers’ around its
periphery which each have a similar propensity for failure. The
winder has always been the weakest point of a watchcase in terms of
waterproofing and cleanliness and, in the case of a normal,
non-waterproof watch, the worst thing you can do is to remove your
watch at night and place it on a bedside table. All such surfaces are
naturally dusty and, as the watch cools down from body temperature to
the night-time room temperature, the air inside the case will
and ‘vacuum’ up the dust from around the winder. This then gets mixed
with the oil on the watch pivots and forms an effective grinding
paste intent on destroying your expensive timepiece.

Whilst I am now semi-retired and no longer sell watches, restricting
my activities only to restoring the kind of complicated antique
watches and chronometers that would normally be uneconomic to
restore commercially, when I did sell, I would always suggest to
customers that, unless the watch was specifically designed for diving
and regularly serviced, the waterproofing depths claimed should
always be taken as optimistic and that 10% of the depth claimed would
be more realistic for a watch in everyday use!

Best wishes,
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield, UK

.... storage device is not a capacitor, but is often incorrectly
referred to as one. They are also quoting a figure of 40 years as
the potential of the circuits.... 

Call it what they may, all we need to do is look at the numbers on
the ‘device’, call any one of a variety of different watch material
supply houses and recieve it in a matter of a few days or less- in a
Citizen brand package. If the Ecos were not meant for opening in ‘the
field’ then they should have made them more difficult to open than
using a standard adjustable watchcase opening wrench. Car dealers and
manufacturers also have enjoyed this scenario for yrs as well, but
there are plenty of people out there that acquire the appropriate
equipment in ‘the field’ and manage to do quality work at
considerable savings to the consumer. And way faster!

And once you are inside the watch, it is gasketed no differently
than any other W/R watch out there on the market. It uses a standard
black rubber O ring, placed in a uniformly cut seat. No reason for it
to be any more W/R than any other brand. Contrary to popular belief,
gaskets usually dont go bad as a result of opening the watch, but
rather as a result of chemical attack from everyday wear and tear.
Although we do see a rather large number of sliced gaskets in watches
from the ‘watchmakers’ at Wally World and other stores w/o real
watchmakers. Besides the W/R of the back, it also becomes less W/R
around the stem and crown and should also have the gasket, and or
crown replaced periodically or else the watch will begin to leak.
About every 3-5 yrs for good W/R.

As far as talking to company reps, Seiko use to make sure they had
reps at watch maker guild meetings, to keep telling us that plastic
gears were good- as they made the changeover from metal to
plastic-and yes, Citizen uses them too. Just the same, we were still
finding a fair amount of shredded plastic thruout the stepping
motors on all brands of quartz mvmnts, regardless of how ‘good’ the
reps were telling us. To this day, the single most common problem
with all quartz movements is jammed stepping motors, as a result of
contamination via internal and external sources such as dust, water,
hairs, fibers, etc… even a dead bug on a time or two. Ihave
opened a watch that were supposedly W/R to 200 meters(suitable for
lite to medium duty diving) and was able to tell the guy what color
of paint he had been using recently(blue incidentally) Without
gasket replacement periodically the problem is a guarantee.

The second most common problem with all quartz movements is bad
electronics- circuit boards, coils, etc, as a result of moisture
entering the watch thru the back, or the crown, in addition to broken
crystals( which are also readily available from Citizen thru any
watch material supply house by using the caseback number to order)-
and does not need to be sent in to the mfg for such service.

...I'd appreciate any real-world insight you have on this.

And if bad charging cycles are a result of operater error on such a
consistent basis, then the product doesnt suite average wearing
patterns very well. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that
attempting to change peoples behavior and watch wearing patterns is
quite fruitless. I’ve warned and guided people for the last 35 yrs
on how to avoid trips to the jeweler/ watchmaker (me) for repairs,
and so far, hardly a one has listened. If people ever change, I’ll be
out of business, and currently theres no end in sight. All I do is
capitalize on remedying problems that people could have handled
themselves thru changing their behavior, but dont. And just like the
people out there who receive income from battery replacement, there
are also those out there who receive income from making and selling
custom watchbands.

Ed R